Noel Gallagher is known to have a no-holds barred attitude in conversations. At one point during his show at Webster Hall on May 7th, he told the quiet, rapt and possible fearful audience, “For fuck’s sake, say something!” But perhaps it wasn’t that they were shy or afraid, though he had been smart with the crowd in Toronto apparently, it was that they were saving their voices to sing along with the frontman and his ace flock of “birds”, Tim Smith on lead guitar, Russ Pritchard on bass, Mikey Rowe on keyboards and Jeremy Stacey on drums, plus a three piece horn section. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have just released their second album Chasing Yesterday on Gallagher’s label Sour Mash Records. Their show is a powerful evening of rock that combines material from both NGHFB albums and some of the now-classic Oasis material into an awesome sounding show that I wished could have been longer. (The setlist appears to remain the same throughout the tour.)
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Unfortunately, it is hard to find a webpage that lists all the performances coming up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York so I have missed many of them. Seeing live music at a museum is an exciting idea but seeing a performance within The Met’s Temple of Dendur is even more exciting. The Met’s April schedule listed jazz legend Charles Lloyd in the Temple of Dendur and the ‘Jazz & Colors’ series (held throughout various galleries) for example. But even in the inspiring and unique setting, you can’t presume an artist will be doing something to take advantage of the atmosphere. Interpol, Glen Hansard and others have performed there but simply drew from their regular repertoire. However, in March, Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, along with the choral ensemble Roomful of Teeth and the instrumental American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), created something unique within the Temple.
PopMatters writer Jordan Blum caught one of the first stops (in Philadelphia) of Sufjan Stevens tour in support of his 2015 release Carrie and Lowell and covered it for this site. The review from Philadelphia is up here, but we also caught Stevens and opener Cold Specks (supporting her new album Neuroplasticity in Hartford, his first performance in Connecticut, for the fourth night of his tour. Blum wrote, “Not only does his catalog contain some of the most personal, unique, varied, and overall magnificent music of the last 20 years, but the visual accompaniments within the live setting elevate the performance into grippingly tender yet colorful art.”, which should encourage you to go out and catch Stevens while you can. His upcoming tour dates, photos and a couple illicit videos from Hartford are below.
Benjamin Booker‘s Friday night set at the Music Hall of Williamsburg was sold out. That was to be expected, given that the young guitarist, now based in New Orleans, has been drawing a lot of from their festival performances last year as well as his solid self-titled debut album and his Live at Third Man Records release earlier this year. Booker’s guitar prowess allows him to blend garage rock with blues, roots, and other elements to create an enthralling set. Jack White is a fan.
PopMatters writer Jordan Blum reviewed The Decemberists show in Philadelphia from earlier this week, where he wrote, “The Decemberists are known for their eccentric yet faithful live sets, and the group exceeded expectations on this night. The fact that they represented almost their entire discography, instead of focusing on only material from the new collection, was wise and appreciated, and Meloy’s antics between songs proved how unpretentious yet confident and tongue-in-cheek he is.” You should read the entire show review here.
We were able to capture pictures of the band’s performance with Alvvays at the Beacon Theatre in New York the night before, where lead-singer Colin Meloy had said to the crowd, “I’ll break you before the night is through”. And then sure enough, later on, when everyone was standing up and singing-along, he said “I know this is a city of meek and shy people who have a hard time expressing themselves. But I really feel you’ve come a long way… A bond of trust has grown from earlier in the night when you were sitting, and now you are standing.” Check out photos and tour dates below, as this was one of my favorite shows of the year (and the Decemberists new album What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World is their best since The Crane Wife, in my opinion).